Names of Recipients:
Mdm. Shahidah Ayoob Angullia
Mr. Shaik Mohamed Shaik Jaffar Basrawi
Since their inception in 2012, Ilham Child Care has been steadily establishing themselves as a leading childcare service provider in Singapore. Operating out of two centres strategically located in Kaki Bukit and Boon Lay; Ilham believes in providing opportunities for children to develop holistically and learn through interaction and play in a structured, supportive environment.
Lead by Shahidah and Shaik, Ilham skillfully pairs the Reggio and Montessori approach in their pedagogy. The Reggio approach emphasizes the child as a capable learner, giving them the freedom to direct their own learning through relationships with other children and material items in their environment. Meanwhile, the Montessori approach also believes in allowing children to freely explore but in a structured space specifically designed for their learning. Ilham has successfully combined the fluid learning philosophy from Reggio with the tools from Montessori to create an environment where children can be active learners supported by an encouraging environment and staff.
Although having found success in a short amount of time, Shahidah and Shaik faced significant challenges when first setting up the childcare business. The largest of which was a manpower crunch and applicants with job-hopping tendencies which impeded their plans to establish a quality stable team of teachers. In order to overcome these challenges, Ilham rolled out in-house sponsorship initiatives to retain existing staff by offering to pay for short course diplomas that aided employee personal growth and development. In addition, they sought to bring in reliable new talent through avenues such as work placement programmes.
One of the key reasons for Ilham’s success comes from their ability to differentiate themselves from competitors. Offering equal opportunities, Ilham make their childcare services available to single parents and low-income families through subsidies, which reduce the cost of initial payment and monthly fees. This willingness to provide a service to members of the community regardless of social status has helped them grow a reputation of being an inclusive and caring childcare provider.
The enrichment programmes offered by Ilham are also a contributing factor for their success. From arts and crafts to speech and drama, children enrolled at the school have ample opportunity to express themselves creatively and develop their artistic sides. Phonics and language lessons are also included so children can be effective communicators and develop an appreciation for other cultures. Lastly, there is a tendency in today’s day and age for children to be more sedentary due to technology. Ilham promotes an active lifestyle for students through their music and movement as well as martial art programmes.
Ilham’s unique brand of curriculum and approach to teaching would not be made possible without their dedicated teachers. The school ensures that their staffs meet training requirements set by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and are constantly upgrading their expertise. Teachers also meet weekly to discuss developments and lesson plans, as well as participate in the company’s internal professional development courses. Finally, the company ensures that the centres follow the teacher to child ratio guidelines set by the ECDA.
In the future, Shahidah and Shaik are hoping to further expand the business to include two more childcare centres. They are also working towards achieving the SPARK certification awarded by ECDA and are sustaining efforts to renew their two-year tenure childcare license. Both leaders of Ilham are caring individuals who believe in giving back to the community, taking part in charity drives and donating uniforms to those in need. The pair finds continued motivation to succeed in empowering the less fortunate and giving children the opportunity to learn.
For Shahidah and Shaik, entrepreneurship has been a learning journey. Starting from scratch with change as the only constant, they have had to overcome challenges as a team in order for their business to succeed. For their business in particular, both leaders stress that an open door relationship with the community they are serving is an important quality needed to be successful. Besides this, organizing activities for staff such as a teacher’s day retreat and taking an interest in their welfare is crucial. In terms of qualities needed to succeed for the childcare industry in general, they cite integrity, trust, sincerity, humility and the ability to empower your team to work harder for you.
Shahidah and Shaik have dedicated themselves to the betterment of children’s lives. Through their passion for their work, Ilham Child Care has quickly established itself to be a stable, competent and tireless servant of the communities they are in. Regardless of what the future holds, it is safe to say that Ilham will continue to remain dedicated and committed in their quest to enrich the lives of children.
1 Kaki Bukit Road 1 #01-32
Enterprise One S(415934)
T| 6749 6323
F| 6749 6329
18 Boon Lay Way #01-121/135
TradeHub 21 S(609966)
T| 6515 9723
F| 6686 4523